Homeless Cats Help Kids Foster a Love of Reading at Toronto Veterinary Hospital

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The inspiration for creating the Kitty-Litter-a-ture program came to Dr. Scott Bainbridge from his client Julia Gallagher. Julia had heard of a similar program being run at an animal shelter in Pennsylvania and thought it would be a great addition to his clinics community outreach activities. It was then that the Kitty-Litter-a-ture program was born at Dundas West Animal Hospital in Toronto.

The program invites local grade school kids to volunteer their time caring for homeless cats that have been placed up for adoption.  After the cleaning and feedings are finished, the children then read the cats a story.

Dr. Bainbridge sees the program as an all around success, "It's a win-win, where the kids get to volunteer their time, hone their reading skills, and the cats get some extra cuddling and socialization in a program that helps to promote the fact that they are looking for a home."

The program aims to help promote the adoption of homeless cats, teach children the value of responsible pet ownership and foster a love of reading. Children come in pairs (reading buddies) and are accompanied by at least one parent.

As a mother of three, Julia Gallagher believes the program offers a well-rounded learning opportunity for kids, "Getting my kids to read has often seemed like a chore, but getting them to snuggle with kittens is never a problem!  To see kids actually sit down with a book outside of school time seems to be an increasingly rare event, so it's wonderful to have a program that not only allows for this to happen, but also introduces kids to the idea of volunteering within their community.  A love of animals is a great thing to nurture too!" 

The Kitty Litter-a-ture program currently runs every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dundas West Animal Hospital in Toronto. Due to the programs popularity, it may be extended to another day.

Both Dr. Bainbridge and Julia hope that other veterinary practices and animal shelters will consider running a program like Kitty-Litter-a-ture. In Julia's words, "I just can't imagine that a program like this can have anything other than a positive impact on every person (and cat) involved."

Founded in 1980, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association represents thousands of Ontario veterinarians in private practice, government, academia, industry and public service. Its mandate is to advance and promote excellence in the veterinary profession in Ontario, and contribute to the betterment of animal health and the protection of human health.

Image with caption: "The Kitty-Litter-a-ture Program helps promote the adoption of homeless cats too! (CNW Group/Ontario Veterinary Medical Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140226_C7427_PHOTO_EN_37154.jpg

Image with caption: "Who wouldn't want to practice their reading skills while cuddling a cat? (CNW Group/Ontario Veterinary Medical Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140226_C7427_PHOTO_EN_37153.jpg

SOURCE: Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

For further information:

or to schedule an interview contact:

Melissa Carlaw, OVMA Manager of Communications & Public Relations
905.875.0756, ext. 15 or mcarlaw@ovma.org

Julia Hayes, OVMA Communications Coordinator
905.875.0756, ext. 15 or jhayes@ovma.org

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Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

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